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Find yourself driving in winter weather frequently and getting stuck on the side of the road? If so, then finding the best winter car emergency kit should be a priority. Unlike some of the best car emergency kits we’ve covered in the past, winter car emergency kits are designed with hazardous road conditions in mind. Regardless of how often you find yourself driving in winter weather, a winter car emergency kit can provide peace of mind year-round.

The best winter car emergency kits include a first aid kit, roadside safety equipment, and emergency supplies to make sure you’re alright in the case something does happen while driving. Our team formulated our list of recommendations by researching, reviewing, and testing a number of different winter car emergency kits. We also break down what you want to look for in a kit and how they can be useful in a variety of situations below.

 

In this article:


5 Best Winter Car Emergency Kits

winter car emergency kits
  1. Lifeline 4390 AAA Severe Weather Safety Kit
  2. Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit
  3. Lifeline 4388 AAA Excursion Road Kit
  4. Thrive Roadside Emergency Car Kit
  5. Always Prepared 62 Piece Roadside Kit

#1 Best Overall: Lifeline 4390 AAA Severe Weather Safety Kit

 

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Recognized as the Best Overall winter car emergency kit, the Lifeline 4390 AAA Severe Weather Safety Kit is a must-have for those doing cold-weather driving in treacherous conditions. This kit is backed by one of the most notable names in the automotive industry, AAA, meaning the kit meets AAA’s standard of excellence. This 66-piece kit features a wide variety of different tools and items, including a 45-piece first aid kit.

Along with the 45-piece first aid kit are a folding snow shovel, survival accessories, and warmth accessories. For winter weather, warm accessories include items such as tea candles, a custom-built fire starter, hand warmers, an emergency blanket, and a fleece set. In terms of survival accessories, the kit includes an LED flashlight, extra batteries, an emergency whistle, and an ice scraper.

Key Features

  • Meets AAA’s standard of excellence
  • Foldable snow shovel
  • 45-piece first aid kit

Our Experience

Overall Rating 4.7 out of 5
Stowability 4.5 out of 5
Quality 4.5 out of 5
Usability 5 out of 5
 

The Lifeline 4390 AAA Severe Weather Safety Kit was the only kit that included a collapsible snow shovel, which ultimately gave this product the edge over the competition.

Stowability: In terms of stowability, our team members had no problem fitting this winter car emergency kit in our testing vehicle’s trunk and under the car seats. Furthermore, there was still additional room to add a few items of your own to the kit.

Quality: The quality of the items in this winter car emergency kit is relatively high. Although the beanie, scarf, and gloves look relatively low-quality, they are actually soft to the touch and provide a surprising amount of warmth. The foldable snow shovel was certainly the most high-quality item featured in this kit.

Usability: Everything that was featured in this kit was highly usable. No other kit we tested featured a snow shovel, which is something that will undoubtedly come in handy if you find yourself stuck on the side of the road in winter conditions.

What Customers Are Saying

Approximately 250 customers have left reviews for the Lifeline 4390 AAA Severe Weather Safety Kit on Amazon. A whopping 90 percent of reviewers rate this car survival kit 4 stars or higher. Positive reviews mention how this kit is a necessity if you plan on doing much winter driving, while one negative reviewer believes this kit doesn’t have everything you need.


#2 Highest Quality: Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit

 

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The Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit is our product testing team’s choice for the Highest Quality winter car emergency kit. The jumper cables that are included are UL certified, which is the highest-ranking certificate for jumper cables in the United States. This winter car emergency kit is lightweight and compact, so it can be stored easily in your trunk or in your backseat.

Included in this kit are 8.2 feet of jumper cables, a snow scraper, flashing lights, tow straps, seatbelt cutters, and a safety hammer. Additionally, a car tool kit is included with everything you could possibly need from screwdrivers to a multi-tool. To keep you safe when you’re on the side of the road, this kit also includes a rain poncho, safety vest, and a reflective triangle to help you flag down other motorists.

Key Features

  • UL certified jumper cables
  • Seatbelt cutters
  • Safety hammer

Our Experience

Overall Rating 4.5 out of 5
Stowability 4 out of 5
Quality 5 out of 5
Usability 4.5 out of 5
 

The Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit set the standard for the quality of items you could hope to have in a winter car emergency kit.

Stowability: This winter car emergency kit was easy to stow away in the trunk or under the seat of our testing vehicle. However, this kit would’ve received a higher stowability score if there was room left in the carrying bag to add items to the kit.

Quality: The quality of the items featured in this winter car emergency kit were a step above the rest of the kits that we tested. Simply holding the items in your hand will tell you that the items in this kit are of higher quality and more durable than the items featured in other kits. Additionally, the UL certification of the jumper cables ensures the cables will work as intended.

Usability: This kit featured a number of items that weren’t featured in other kits. Seatbelt cutters are certainly something that’s good to have around, while a safety hammer might come in handy if you find yourself in a bad accident. These items, as well as the rest of the items in this kit, all have a clear purpose and are of high enough quality to serve their intended purpose.

What Customers Are Saying

Over 2,800 customers have left reviews on Amazon for the Lianxin Roadside Assistance Emergency Kit. Of these several thousand reviewers, 94 percent rate this winter car emergency kit 4 or more stars. Customers who left positive feedback remarked about the quality of tools included in the kit, while a negative reviewer noted the pliers broke after one use.


#3 Best Organization: Lifeline 4388 AAA Excursion Road Kit

 

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The Lifeline 4388 AAA Excursion Road Kit features mesh pouches to keep your kit organized the way you want it. Lifeline First Aid has teamed up with the AAA to bring you this 76-piece kit, so you don’t have to worry about the quality as the kit meets AAA’s standard of excellence. A premium component of the kit is the Department of Transportation (DOT) warning triangle.

This winter car emergency kit includes a 45-piece first aid kit, an air compressor with tire pressure gauge, a 10.0-foot 8-gauge booster cable, an emergency warning triangle, an LED flashlight, essential tools, and essential safety accessories. In terms of essential tools, this kit includes screwdrivers, pliers, gloves, duct tape, and a bungee cord. As for safety accessories, the kit includes a poncho, knife, whistle, shop cloth, and cable ties.

Key Features

  • Meets AAA’s standard of excellence
  • DOT warning triangle
  • 45-piece first aid kit

Our Experience

Overall Rating 4.3 out of 5
Stowability 4.5 out of 5
Quality 4.5 out of 5
Usability 4 out of 5
 

The mesh pouches featured in the Lifeline 4388 AAA Excursion Road Kit allow you to neatly organize all of the items. 

Stowability: Our team members had no problem fitting this winter car emergency kit into our testing vehicle’s trunk or under the seats. Our team liked the fact that there was additional room to add items to the kit while also being able to neatly organize everything thanks to the mesh pouches featured in the kit.

Quality: The quality of the items in this winter car emergency kit never came into question. Our product testing team would like to note that the DOT warning triangle featured in this kit was the highest quality reflective triangle that our team members encountered during testing.

Usability: The air compressor with gauges and the zip ties are two relatively unique items included in the kit. While the use of zip ties can vary, an air compressor serves a very clear purpose – to inflate your tires. These items, along with the rest of the items in this kit, could all be useful in the case of a roadside emergency.

What Customers Are Saying

About 600 customers left reviews on Amazon for the Lifeline 4388 AAA Excursion Road Kit. A grand total of 96 percent of reviewers rate this roadside kit 4 stars or higher. Customers who left positive feedback mentioned this kit is a necessity for road trips, while a negative reviewer states the air compressor gauge is stuck at a tire pressure of 40.0 PSI.


#4 Also Consider: Thrive Roadside Emergency Car Kit

 

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The Thrive Roadside Emergency Car Kit weighs 4.5 pounds with dimensions of 12.6 by 6.8 by 5.0 inches. This 104-piece winter car emergency kit is divided into 42 pieces of emergency auto supplies and 62 pieces of car survival kit. The bag itself is crafted from durable nylon material, more specifically 600.0-D nylon, which can withstand scratches and rough handling. It should be noted that the 8.0-foot jumper cables that are included are made from 8-gauge wire.

In terms of the contents of the auto emergency side of the kit, it includes jumper cables, a first aid kit, foldable triangle, distress help sign, safety hammer, reflective vest, tire pressure gauge, screwdrivers, a hand-powered flashlight, electrical tape, and more. The first aid kit contains alcohol pads, antiseptic wipes, scissors, adhesive bandages of varying sizes, tweezers, cotton buds, non-woven tape, safety pins, and more.

Key Features

  • 600.0-D nylon bag
  • Jumper cables made from 8-gauge wire
  • Kit includes 104 pieces

Our Experience

Overall Rating 4.2 out of 5
Stowability 4 out of 5
Quality 4.5 out of 5
Usability 4 out of 5
 

The Thrive Roadside Emergency Car Kit includes pretty much everything you could need if you find yourself stuck in a roadside emergency.

Stowability: Stowing this winter car emergency kit under a seat or in the trunk of a car wasn’t a difficult task. However, trying to fit additional items into this carrying bag could pose problems, as there wasn’t much room left in the bag itself.

Quality: The quality of the items in this winter car emergency kit was all relatively high, excluding two items. Our team members were disappointed to realize the lower quality of the whistle and flashlight. However, we’d like to note that both items are fully functional and will serve their intended purpose.

Usability: All of the items in this kit would prove useful in the case of a roadside emergency in winter conditions. Although our team members would prefer to see more winter-focused items featured in the kit, such as an ice scraper or blanket.

What Customers Are Saying

Over 1,000 customers have left reviews for the Thrive Roadside Emergency Car Kit on Amazon. A whopping 96 percent of reviewers rate this car safety kit 4 or more stars. Customers who left positive reviews noted the quality and variety of tools included in the carrying case, while a negative reviewer notes the window hammer was unable to break a car window in an emergency situation.


#5 Also Consider: Always Prepared 62 Piece Roadside Kit

 

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Small, organized, and compact, the Always Prepared 62 Piece Roadside Kit will certainly keep you prepared, as the name implies. This kit includes the necessities for any situation, whether inclement weather, injury, vehicle emergency, or trying to flag down help. In terms of staying visible while you’re on the side of the road, the kit includes a reflective safety vest, warning triangle, light sticks, and a self-powered flashlight.

For when you’re caught in an emergency, the kit includes 15.0-foot 4-gauge jumper cables, PVC tape, a screwdriver, an accident report, and a whistle. In terms of items included to protect you against the elements or take care of injuries, the car emergency kit has a sterile gauze pad, antiseptic towelette, bandages of varying sizes, q-tips, a poncho, and a space blanket. All of this is packaged in an incredibly durable nylon bag.

Key Features

  • 15.0-foot 4-gauge jumper cables
  • Self-powered flashlight
  • Inclusion of accident report

Our Experience

Overall Rating 3.8 out of 5
Stowability 4 out of 5
Quality 3.5 out of 5
Usability 4 out of 5
 

The Always Prepared 62 Piece Roadside Kit is lightweight and compact, making it easy to stow away under your car seats or in the trunk of your car.

Stowability: The size of this winter car emergency kit means it's easy to store in your trunk or under a car seat. On the other hand, there is absolutely no leftover room to add your own items to the kit, hence why its stowability score wasn’t a perfect 5.

Quality: Unfortunately, this winter car emergency kit had the lowest quality items out of all the kits that we tested. Specifically, the jumper cables were called into question by a variety of customers, as approximately five reviewers left comments saying the cables caught fire when trying to jump-start a vehicle. Compared to other kits on the market though, most of the items in this kit are average or slightly above average.

Usability: For the most part, the items included in this kit are helpful in an emergency scenario. Our team members debated how useful the inclusion of glow sticks are and ultimately determined they merit a place in the kit as they can last over 24 hours if you’re stuck in an emergency situation. However, we do believe that a warning triangle would’ve been a more useful inclusion.

What Customers Are Saying

Over 1,800 customers have left reviews for the Always Prepared 62 Piece Roadside Kit on Amazon. The vast majority of customers – 94 percent – rate this winter car emergency kit 4 stars or higher. Positive reviewers state you won’t have to purchase any additional items if you get this roadside kit, while a few negative reviewers mention the jumper cables catching on fire when trying to jump-start their car.


Winter Car Emergency Kit Buyers Guide

Winter car emergency kits are the type of product that you’d imagine you could make yourself, but in reality that may not be the case. Winter car emergency kits mostly differ by what they include, so the best way to choose the right kit for you and your needs is to inspect what exactly the kit includes. Besides that, you should consider the following factors:

Ready-To-Go Vs. Setup Required

Some winter car emergency kits are ready to go, with items in easy-to-reach places and not wrapped up in packaging deep within the kit. Other kits require you to open up the kit and place batteries in the flashlight amongst other tasks so that your kit is ready to go when needed.

There is no right or wrong choice between ready-to-go kits and kits that require setup time. However, it should be noted that if you’re looking to throw a kit out of the box and into your trunk, you’ll need a ready-to-go kit.

Items Included

Most winter car emergency kits include the same kinds of items, such as a first aid kit or reflective warning triangles. When picking the best winter car emergency kit, it often comes down to what isn’t included in the kit rather than what is. Below is a list of items that our team members think should be included in a winter car emergency kit in addition to the basics:

  • Cat litter
  • Pen and paper
  • Spare wiper blades
  • Tire chains
  • Small tarp

Our Review Standards

The winter car emergency kits in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices. Our testing team ordered the five winter car emergency kits that best met these standards.

Winter Car Emergency Kit Testing Process

A team member tested each product on a car, taking note of how well the winter car emergency kit could be stowed away in the trunk of a car, how high quality the items inside the kit were, and how useful and usable the items in the kit were. Each winter car emergency kit was given a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.

  • Stowability: Stowability is an incredibly important characteristic of a winter car emergency kit. We tested each kit’s stowability by observing how much space the kit took up in a car’s trunk and how much space was available inside of the kit bag.
  • Quality: Quality is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when investing in a winter car emergency kit. Our team tested each kit’s quality by seeing how well-made each item included in the kit was.
  • Usability: Usability is hands down the most important feature of a winter car emergency kit. If an emergency roadside kit doesn’t include the necessities and items that would be useful in the event of an emergency, then the kit itself cannot be considered a good kit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should be in a winter emergency car kit?

Everything that you would possibly need in the case of a roadside emergency needs to be in a winter emergency car kit. Some items that are typically found in this type of kit include a first aid kit, jumper cables, cell phone charger, ice scraper, road flares, snow brush, and a tow rope.

Can a candle heat a car?

A candle can produce a surprising amount of heat and can even produce enough heat to keep a car warm, though having an open flame in your car does pose an obvious danger. It’s also recommended to run your car for 10 minutes out of every hour in tandem while also keeping a candle lit to keep your car as warm as possible.

Is it OK to sleep in a car overnight?

It depends on where you are for if it’s OK to sleep in a car overnight. According to the California State Department of Transportation, it is legal to sleep in your car at a rest stop for up to eight hours. However, this isn’t the case for all cities and states across the country.

Additionally, it is important to keep the engine off in order to prevent harmful exhaust fumes from entering the vehicle. If you’re sleeping in your car in winter conditions, it’s important to have a warm sleeping bag or other insulation to stay warm. Also, keep a charged phone on you in case of emergencies.

*Data accurate at time of publication.